News tries too hard to keep appearance of objectivity

To the Editor:

Thursday’s coverage of the unionization fight at Yale-New Haven Hospital continues a disturbing trend of misrepresenting this vital issue to the Yale community.

For example, in two captions in Thursday’s paper, the News refers to students protesting the hospital’s “alleged” anti-union tactics. In fact, the independent arbitrator has cited the hospital for illegal behavior, and the hospital CEO herself has admitted to misconduct. Why say “alleged,” if not to distort the facts?

Also in Thursday’s cover story, we read that “the hospital, for its part, is maintaining its workers’ right to vote on a union through secret ballot.” Frankly, it’s disappointing to see the News so blatantly repackage the hospital’s rhetoric as news. Objective reporting would have at least raised the question whether the real right at stake — the right to workplace democracy — is best served by the NLRB process. After all, it is precisely this “secret ballot” process which the hospital managed to subvert so effectively in December — through a campaign of fear and intimidation begun once it was clear that a majority of workers favored the union.

The News should realize that objectivity doesn’t mean artificially bolstering the claims of one side or another to ensure that the two appear “balanced.” On the contrary, it means reporting the facts, whomever they favor. On this issue, the News is failing in that responsibility.

Ben Eidelson ’08

March 8

Stress is important factor in mental issues among Yalies

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the News for its recent coverage of Mental Health Awareness Week and for the News’ View editorial advocating for better mental health publicity at Yale. One line in the opinion that I think is worth highlighting in the context of mental health advocacy is that “Yale is a stressful place.” The administration seems very aware that beginning college can trigger a variety of mental health issues for freshmen, but since the average age of onset for many mental illnesses is during young adulthood, all students are at risk. Students in a competitive academic environment seem more likely both to need mental health resources and to avoid seeking them. Yale students don’t just need to know that mental health services are available — they need to know that many other Yale students use them, that mental health problems are treatable, that mental health treatment is absolutely confidential and that asking for help doesn’t mean compromising one’s chances for success. In fact, for many people, asking for help is exactly what enables them to be successful.

Take Kay Redfield Jamison for example, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University who not only is one of the foremost scholars on bipolar disorder but also has written several well-known books about her own struggles with bipolar disorder. I wish that Yale students had an example of such a person on our campus; one who has spoken publicly about her mental illness, and has still succeeded and excelled in the way that many of us hope to do. Recent statistics estimate that one in five adults worldwide suffers from a diagnosable mental illness, and the stigma surrounding receiving a diagnosis of a mental health condition and seeking treatment affect us all.

Every student and faculty member, regardless of whether he or she has been affected by mental illness in their lives, can help make discussions of mental health and mental health resources more public and acceptable at Yale. The stress, the all-nighters and the pressure to succeed aren’t going to go away anytime soon. What we can change is the way we talk about mental health and mental illness — we can educate ourselves about the resources that Yale has, judge for ourselves whether they are sufficient and effective, and work to eliminate the shortcomings that we see. Making Yale’s mental health resources more accessible and attractive as possible should be a priority for the administration, YUHS, the faculty and all students.

Laura Chandhok ’08

March 8